Amethyst Acres is an award-winning herd of ADGA registered Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats in Southern Maine. Our flagship does is where the breed boundaries of average and ordinary are broken! Nationally competitive Top 10 Performance Breed Leaders, I expect our does to be extraordinary and test the limits of extreme in dairy goats.
We have developed and still refining a management program that supports each individual in reaching these goals. We are not in this to just keep doing the same old same old, emphasis on mammary systems and lactation persistency with a true genetic ability to produce in the milk pail. We don’t raise average, we raise the bar!
Home to the All-Time NIGERIAN DWARF Milk Production Record Holder SG SUGAR MOON V ZUZANNA 4*M PD1637029 2018 5-02 305 2190-106/4.8-83/3.8 Bred by- Sharon A Peck, Vermont
Our herd is closed and we do not show, instead we participate in Performance Programs available through the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA): DHIR (official milk test) and LA (Linear Appraisal). There has never been a case of CAE, CL, or Johnes on our farm. All foundation animals are tested for CAE. The latest test was done in September 2019. We remain a CAE free herd as all tested negative, documentation available upon request.
Our dairy goats are raised on a completely alternative and natural wellness program. We have chosen NOT to vaccinate our animals, as we feel it is detrimental to their health and well being.
We also do NOT use chemicals unless we have to resort to them for life-saving measures. Instead, the herd is supported through holistic methods and provided with a custom formulated herbal supplement for whole herd health, immunity, and parasite/coccidia management. Additionally, we choose to allow our does to raise their own kids, which is by far the healthiest way. Dam raised goat kids seem to graze and eat hay much earlier than bottle-fed kids and learn many important lessons while being allowed to be members within the herd hierarchy.
The primary diet of the herd consists of 2nd cut timothy grass hay, they also have free choice access to organic kelp, Sweetlix, Zinpro 40, sodium bicarbonate, and Redmond Conditioner.
The cornerstone of our herd management is the secondary ration of natural brewers yeast product made from Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation technology. Our milking does receive this natural yeast ration exclusively in the dairy parlor. The daily group feedings for does, bucks and kids all receive a 50/50 mix of natural yeast (28% protein) and a standard dairy pellet (18% protein).
We also provide on farm sales of delicious, sweet, and creamy Raw Milk!
High-performance dairy herd on continuous DHIR 305-day milk test with a heavy emphasis on milk production, after all, they are dairy goats. Our foundation does are ADGA Top 10 Performance Breed Leaders, top PTAM (Predicted Transmitting Ability for Milk yield), and “ELITE” percentile ranking animals in accordance with USDA-DHIA genetic evaluations.
These important scientific numbers (Percentile and PTA Milk) developed by G. R. Wiggans at the USDA-AIPL (Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory) and in use by thousands of serious cow dairymen. The “Bull Proof” numbers.
The genetic evaluations are now run at the CDCB (Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding) using the USDA-DHIA Animal Model. There are many award programs, but only one that measures the true genetic merit of a dairy goat for milk, fat, and protein yields: ADGA ELITE Buck List and ADGA ELITE Doe List. High-ranking DOES designated as "ELITE" are in the top 5% of their breed nationally and BUCKS are in the top 15%.
Animals included on these lists must meet a strict set of criteria for genetic merit based on Milk Fat Protein Dollars (MFP$). This is an economic index primarily useful for commercial dairy operations. Percentile rankings of dairy goats are based on MFP$ = $.031 (PTA milk) + $.80 (PTA fat) + $2.00 (PTA protein). The highest percent ranking is 99%.
Genetic evaluations are reported to the dairy goat industry as predicted transmitting abilities (PTA's). A PTA is half of the breeding value and is the genetic merit that an animal is expected to contribute to its offspring. The quintessence of Predicted Transmitting Ability is the predicted difference of a parent animal's offspring from average, due to the genes transmitted from that parent.
The USDA animal model genetic evaluation system uses data provided from DHIA production testing to evaluate the impact of different factors on production records. The factors include the effects of management group, doe's genetic merit (breeding value), effect of a doe's permanent environment, effect of the interaction between a doe's herd and her sire, and the remaining unexplained residual. When daughters are spread out among several herds, management and environmental influences can be mathematically removed by statistical procedures on large computers and the remaining genetic influences can then be evaluated.
All dairy goats in the country that have ever been on Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) and that meet the criteria to have a genetic evaluation, including every relative no matter how distantly related are all connected to the computer like a spider's web. The computer knows the genes because it knows what all the ancestors on test milked compared to their herd mates and it knows what all the descendants of all those ancestors milked compared to their herd mates.
Research indicates that management and environmental differences account for about 80% of the differences in milk production between herds and genetic influences account for about 20% of the differences. You don't need someone else's management you need genetics and the genetics are going to be what shows up year after year in your herd.
The dairy cattle industry over the last 20 years has doubled milk production. Based on the experience and information from dairy cattle and armed with a program modeled after the successes of that industry, dairy goats can expect similar improvements.
Linebreeding to build homozygosity and prepotency (the ability of an animal to impress characteristics upon its offspring to such an extent that they resemble that parent or each other more closely than is usual) within the herd. Selecting for mammary system traits to eliminate age-old tiny teats, flat udder floors, and low production that is prevalent in the breed.
“One who wants to make and keep his herd far different from the average of the breed to which it belongs must put some kind of pedigree barrier between it and the rest of the breed, so that the differences continually being produced as successive sires are used will tend to accumulate and not be halved with each successive sire.”
“The breeder who practices linebreeding is to a considerable extent isolating his herd from the rest of the breed, and its merit tends toward that of the isolated group rather than toward that of the breed”, fighting the genetic pull back to breed average you typically get from random outcrossing.
Professor Jay L. Lush
“Animal Breeding Plans” 1943
Our breeding program is using linebreeding directed toward maintaining a high relationship to a few chosen individuals of genetically superior merit. When working with valuable creations of distinctive and superior merit one comes soon to the point at which close breeding is inevitable and to continually breed them out (outcross) is but to dissipate their excellence, so the only practical alternative is linebreeding.
Most breeders claim they breed for milk and show, but every season you have to choose your buck and there will be a buck who is “Showier” and a buck who is “Milkier”, we go with the buck who is “Milkier”, while the majority of breeders go with a buck who is “Showier”. We can just keep selecting for milk/fat/protein genetics, all wrapped into one number called “Percentile”.
The ADGA scorecard has many traits, but you can only successfully breed for THREE, our three are MILK, Teat Size, and strong Medial Suspensory Ligaments (MSL) that produce deep clefts in the udder floor.
We've acquired many of our desired traits from very successful and proven programs, and I'm not only thankful to have them, but are thankful for their breeders’ commitment to excellence. With their help, we have turned this passion into a high-performance program both in production and type.
Ultra-high milk production can oftentimes include excellent conformation, but Mega-Milk comes first here!